The secret ingredient to this jambalaya

Hometown cooks share their recipes

Jambalaya recipe

If there’s one thing Acadian knows how to do, it's to cook a good meal. Some of the best memories are ones made with friends and family surrounding a black pot filled with various meats while taking turns seasoning and stirring the food. From gumbos to fried chicken, Acadiana is known for its delectable and unique recipes passed down from generation to generation. We turned to our Facebook page so that our readers could nominate the best cooks they know! We coaxed these three into sharing their recipes for their famous dishes!

Christine Cessac’s Jambalaya:

Cessac's family always enjoyed the act of cooking for her loved ones. She cooks for her family and for her neighbors who are unable to cook for themselves. “The love that’s put in the pot, you can taste it,” says Cessac.


Pork rib or backbone, seasoned with red pepper, black pepper and marinated in seasonings and vinegar.

Cooking oil of choice

1-2 chopped onions

3 cups of rice

About 4 cups of water

Fresh parsley


Marinate the pork in seasonings and vinegar. Place the meat in a large pot on the stove top and add water and oil. As the meat browns, it will make an excess of oil, make sure to take some of the excess out.

Place the chopped onion in the pot and cover the meat with water. Cook until the meat is tender and the water is gone. Add in three cups of water, three cups of uncooked, washed rice and fresh parsley.

Cook over medium heat until the water is out, again. Stir the pot to ensure the bottom doesn’t burn.

Cover the pot, put the stove onto a lower setting and add one or two tablespoons of water.

Where did you get this recipe?

The recipe is from a hand-written book by my mom, Melanie Gaspard Cavalier. She passed in 2018, but the family still gets together to cook and use the recipes she passed down.

What’s your secret?

We use lots of vinegar in the marinate before cooking it. You can never have too much vinegar in your marinate.

How much do you usually make?

Everybody eats. I don’t know how to cook small.

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